Athletics: Double-checks for Games entries designed to eliminate London's blunders

By David Leggat

Mike Stanley says the system must be 'watertight'. Photo / APN
Mike Stanley says the system must be 'watertight'. Photo / APN

New Zealand is to double the number of officials assigned to check the veracity of entries to future Olympic and Commonwealth Games.

Yesterday's announcement from the New Zealand Olympic Committee follows the ruckus over the non-entry of both double Olympic shot put champion Valerie Adams and young 1500m runner Lucy van Dalen at the London Olympics last month.

Athletics section manager Raelene Bates was fingered as the official who failed to ensure the women's entry forms had been correctly completed and filed with Games officials.

It led to hurried meetings involving New Zealand team officials and Games bosses to reinstate the pair in their events the day before their competitions.

The NZOC has said a second official will be assigned to cross check all entries and extra resources will be given to team managers to deal with international federations and the International Olympic Committee.

At the time, the NZOC was criticised for leaving the handling of entries in one person's hands per sport.

The review, conducted in consultation with Adams and her management, High Performance Sport New Zealand, Athletics New Zealand and Sport New Zealand, found a "highly uncharacteristic human error" led to the names of Adams and van Dalen being left off their respective start lists and "provided the athletes with unnecessary stress ahead of competition".

As part of the review, the NZOC consulted counterparts from the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, Switzerland and Denmark. All follow the same single-person policy as New Zealand has done.

The NZOC has also petitioned the International Amateur Athletics Federation to change its confirmation of entry process.

The IAAF has said it will review its processes.

"It was important to look for any improvements that could prevent this happening in the future," NZOC president Mike Stanley said. "We want our systems to be watertight."

Adams finished second on the night in her final before being elevated to gold after Belarusian Nadzeya Ostapchuk failed a drug test.

Van Dalen was eighth in her heat the day after the entry blunder and advanced to the semifinals.

- NZ Herald

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